Brand, Marketing and ROI
I was recently talking with a colleague of mine regarding brand and marketing. He is a brand expert so whenever I get a chance to glean his insights, I’m all ears. He was expressing to me one of the common misconceptions of brand development and marketing. Quite often in client meetings, the topic of ROI (return on investment) will come up. How do you measure if it is worth spending the resources to invest in brand and marketing?
A true measure on the return of building a strong brand that drives your marketing program is definitely more abstract than something like an email campaign or direct advertising dollars. However, I love the analogy that he shared with me. His team frequently uses this type of illustration to help clients better understand why building a strong brand is so important. It also helped me immensely in clarifying the return on investment.
Living in the “bold north” of Minnesota, most of us have experienced outdoor sledding. However, in order to have a great sledding experience, there are quite a lot of contributing factors. Many would argue that the snow or the sled are the most important factors – but really they’re not. No…the most important thing is the slope or hill.
Think of your brand as the hill. If you invest and build a strong brand, aligning all of your marketing, messaging, and communications, it’s like heading down that hill. Your sled might not be the fastest or newest version, but because you’re going in the right direction (downhill), you pick up speed and momentum. Conversely, try pushing that same sled up the hill. First of all, it’s a lot more difficult. You can put forth a ton of effort and see very little progress. There’s definitely no speed or momentum. There’s also no fun or excitement. This is analogous to having marketing and messaging that does not align with your brand. Your marketing campaign may be the best and most trendy “sled” available, but if it’s pointed uphill you won’t see the advantages.
The return on investment associated with building a strong brand and marketing program is really a magnification of the ROI on all of your other marketing activities. That’s the real ROI of brand.